One of the biggest things when it comes to weight management is knowing and controlling how much food we put into our bodies. One of the top strategies for losing weight is to move more and eat less.
Sounds simple right?
It sounds simple but it could be a little more difficult in application.
The whole eat less part has to deal with eating fewer calories. Calories are the energy we get from the food we eat. but different foods contain different amounts of calories.
Some foods contain more calories per gram than other foods. Some people need more or fewer calories to get the same result as another person. This is all based on age, height, gender, and other things. So how many calories do you need to get you where you want to be?
Don't worry! I've got you covered.
Some people will try to confuse you by giving you a big complicated equation and a bunch of extra information that you don't really need. I'm just going to give you a couple of calculators and simple directions that will make finding your macros effortless....
Our first step will be to find our upper limit for our macros, or how many calories we can consume in a day to reach our goals. For this, we will be using the body weight calculator at https://www.niddk.nih.gov/bwp
This is designed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help you reach your body weight goals within a given time period, and maintain those goals afterward.
The app will gather the necessary info including age, weight, sex, height, and activity levels to help figure out your caloric targets for your goal.
As far as healthy goal setting I like to aim no more than 2lbs (?kg) of weight loss or weight gain per week (7days) MAX. That's a goal to, at most, have a change of 8lbs (?kg) in either direction per month (30 days).
This slower progress overtime comes with some habitual changes that lead to longer-lasting results.
The calculator will give you 3 numbers:
- The number of calories needed to maintain your current weight.
- The number of calories needed daily to meet your goal weight by the given time
- and the number of calories needed to maintain your goal weight.
Right now, the most important of those numbers is the calories needed to meet your goal. You'll want to write that down, record it, or make sure you have it somewhere you can check back and see if you're within your caloric range throughout the day. I suggest your favorite calorie counting app.
Next, we're going to find the lower levels of our daily caloric balance, and break those calories down into or target for our macronutrients (protein, fats, and carbohydrates). To do this we'll be using the Macro calculator at https://www.calculator.net/macro-calculator.html
The website has a lot of fitness calculators but this one is specifically designed to help you break down your calories into how many of your proteins should come from proteins, fats, or carbohydrates.
Similar to the bodyweight calculator this calculator will ask you for the necessary information including age, gender, height, weight, activity level, and goals. When setting the goals for this one I like to set the goals to the mild or just general weight loss or weight gain goals (0.5 -1lbs Weekly).
I stay away from the extreme setting because we already found that max caloric number with our bodyweight calculator. The macro calculator is going to give us our lower limit or minimum.
We're going to use the calories from the bodyweight calculator to know if we're gonging too extreme by eating not enough for weight loss, or eating too much for weight gain. We re just creating a range to help us reach our goals in the healthiest way possible.
The calculator will give you information and nutritional guidelines including:
- Total number of calories you're allowed to have in a day to reach your goal
- How many grams of proteins, fats, and carbs you're allowed to eat per day.
- Different options to meet your caloric needs within a balanced, low fat, low carb, or high protein diet. (you can also do the custom setting as well.)
(So my guy can have about 2300 - 2800 cals for his weight loss journey according to calculations)
These are ballpark caloric ranges. They're going to get most people where they need to be to make changes in their bodies. Over time you'll be able to make adjustments and how your body responds to food but these are a great place to get started.
The balanced macros are a great place to start for most people but my favorites options are the low carb and high protein macro breakdowns.
But most importantly, it is what you do with the information after you get it that makes the difference.
- Write your max and minimum caloric allowances down, or record them on your phone, and stick to those ranges.
- Record your macros and to stick to that breakdown and see how your body responds.
- And BE CONSISTENT!!
You have to have to be consistent with your nutritional game plan to see the results that you really want. If you need a some assistance with making sure you're hitting your macro goals use technology. It's great! be sure to check out the MyFitnessPall app mentioned in my article "How to Turn Your Phone into a Nutritional Accountability Bot in 3 Easy Steps", it's a great app to keep you on track with your macros and caloric allowances for the day.
Hopefully, this information helps you along in your journey to be the best version of yourself. Be sure to follow me and be on the lookout for more posts on tips and tricks that you can use to be a healthier you.
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